Archive for July, 2010

a Plague of Toads

July 29th, 2010 at 3:33 pm » Comments (5)

Caden-6yr just came over to me, bright eyed and excited and said, “Mom! There were 10 toads in the garage and then one hopped into the cat box closet and now there are 9.”

If you come into our house via the back door, you do not want to take a wrong left turn into that closet. There’s a cat flap at the bottom of the door, and only the cat enters that small space. And one, wayward toad.

I was really glad Mike was here, and not out of town this week yet. I like mud. I like sweat. And I’ll cry if I hurt a turtle, but I do NOT touch toads. A few years ago we had a toad that lived in our garage. He was a total high maintenance pain. He would hang out in the exact place where the garage door would open and shut. So several times a day I had to shoo him away from that spot, and every single time I left or came home I had to make sure he wasn’t under the car. It added inconvenient minutes to all of our departure times, this ritual.

And maybe the toad passed the word around that our garage was some sort of safe haven and the people who live here go way above and beyond to guard and protect their hearts.* Because today…? There are not 10, as Caden-6yr first estimated. After a serious toad roundup, led by Toad Wrangler Mike, there is now an aquarium in the backyard holding about 80.

EIGHTY. As in WAY TOO MANY baby toadlike thingys.

The boys ran after them in the grass. It was like an Easter egg hunt with hard to see camo eggs, but then they’d move.

The Head Toad Wrangler tried to kiss me, but I wasn’t having any of that. Never kiss a man with toads in his hands.  Then he brought his deputies in and did research on what to feed them.  Bugs. Enough bugs for EIGHTY toad/frog baby thingys.

And then the Head Toad Wrangler went off to his day job. (he has several, actually. I don’t know which one he was going to.) And I am his highly reluctant replacement. I think we’ll go to a pet store and try to buy a bunch of bugs.

That’s really not how I wanted to spend my day, today, or like EVER. I’d rather do the laundry.

There will be more on this plague of epic proportions. Photos. More details. More everything toady. Stay tuned.

*if that doesn’t make sense, good for you, reality tv can be dreadful. unfortunately, it does make sense to me, and i am totally cracking myself up right now.

The Burrito Guy

July 28th, 2010 at 3:13 pm » Comments (6)

I had yet another weird conversation with the Burrito Guy yesterday. It’s the only kind we have. Note: I ADORE the Burrito Guy. Enough that I should probably ask him his name and stop thinking of him as the Burrito Guy.

I think I get on his nerves. He always asks if I work in a bank. I have no idea why. I’m usually wearing a t shirt from Target and running shorts. But I do look like a lot of people – it’s just one of those faces everyone thinks they know. When I ask him why he always asks me that, he just shrugs.

And when Burrito Guy asks if I want hot sauce, I always smile and say, “no thank you.”  That is NOT what the Burrito Guy wants to hear. It’s also not what the Burrito Guy’s Wife wants to hear. One day I said that to her and she rolled her eyes and gave me (free) chips and hot sauce and made me eat it right there in the drive thru — with people in big trucks behind me waiting — in order to forcefully change my mind.

I about died. It was hot, that hot sauce, and I do not like hot which is why I’m all “NO THANK YOU” and when I say that, hello? I KINDA TOTALLY MEAN IT. Even if it is a free of charge throat burn, I’d rather pass.

But I smiled and thanked her and tried not to breathe fire and be polite but that was mainly because at that point I was somewhat afraid of her. And she’s very sweet, if not pushy, and I like her. My grandmother was like that with food, too. You’d say ‘no thank you’ and then she’d sweetly but firmly force-feed something until you agreed you really liked it and did indeed want it and were thanking her for the suggestion.

The Burrito Place is bright blue and yellow and  far away, but worth the drive. A friend of mine told me about them. I’ve been a fan ever since. Before the building was bright blue and yellow, it was covered in thick layers of deeply chipped and peeling paint in all sorts of bright colors. I liked it better then. A baby shoe weights down the cord on the miniblinds at window #2. It’s a nice touch.

Yesterday I was at the first window and I told the Burrito Guy I was glad he was back.

“I never left,” he says. He always sounds grumpy, even though I don’t think he is. Or maybe he really is, but I just refuse to think so and I am REALLY annoying to him. But I don’t want to think so, so I don’t.

“Um, yeah? You sure did. There was a ‘gone on vacation’ sign in your window not too long ago.”

“Oh.” He shakes his head. “I’ll never go on vacation again.”

I laugh at him and he disappears. When he comes back, he says, “Where did you go?”

And that makes no sense. “I am not the one who went on vacation. YOU DID.”

“No! The day you came and you were hungry and you saw the sign. Where did you go? Sonic?” He huffs in disgust at this idea.

“Uh… I don’t remember. I probably just went home hungry and depressed that you weren’t here.”

He lets out a laugh that sounds like a bark and says, “Tell it to the mountain, girl!”

I have no idea what that means, but I laugh at him. I tell him I’m glad he went on vacation and I hope he had a nice time. In answer, he grunts.  He puts hot sauce in the bag even though I said, ‘no thank you’, and shoots me a look that says he expects me to like it. At least he isn’t forcing me to eat it while people wait. And at least I don’t have to go back to work at a bank.

I’m underdressed and not good with numbers.

LaLa is Here, and She Brought Her Cute Hair.

July 24th, 2010 at 10:37 pm » Comments (1)

LaLa is here. There has been much laughing. No one has snorted like a pig, but the visit is only half over and I’m sure one of us will get around to it soon enough.

What we have gotten around to, LaLa, J-mom, and myself:

–deepish “what’s in the future” conversations

–shallowish “what’s in the future” conversations

–much snuggling/laughing at little boys

–much snuggling/laughing at various cats

–being thoroughly freaked out by a scary guy in a silver porsche – had to call Mom and LaLa and assure them I would not lead him to the house and was trying to lose him. This was a good time to remember that I don’t see well at night and wouldn’t really know if I’d ‘lost him’ or not. But I did and he was awful, and reminded me of some scary movie character from the 90s I couldn’t ever quite remember.  Eyes as crazy as his hair. Ick. Had to call Mike when I left later and begged him to stay on the phone with me while I drove just in case the crazy guy jumped out of the backseat.

–looked at very old photos and was appalled to see that as a child I looked exactly like Seth-4yr. Not that he isn’t darling – he is. But I mean, I looked EXACTLY like Seth-4yr, but without the big brown eyes. But WITH the boy clothes. With the boy hair. With the Seth-4yr EVERYTHING.

Caden-6yr looked at the pictures and casually said, “Oh. That’s when Mom was a boy.”  (AS IF THAT MAKES SENSE. Oh MY GOSH. My mouth dropped open when he said that and i never even thought to go back and correct it and be all, “Hey? Dude? I was NEVER A BOY. Me? Your mother? Not transgendered. Please let’s get this accurate, ‘kay? It was JUST HAIR. And clothes. And, fine, every single visual appearance cue that a child can have regarding gender including the shoes.”) Gah, that hair. Caden-6yr asked if I wanted boy hair or if I had it that way and I DIDN’T want it that way. I gritted my teeth and said, “doesn’t. matter.”

I don’t think it was convincing.

–In those same photos, my sister had long gorgeous hair that the sun streaked blonde.

–now her hair is darling, with natural wave and curl and volume and body and bounce, and it never does an impersonation of a tumbleweed, like mine does.

–Looking at plants/flowers/my beloved, butchered grapevines

–ate weird, but good dinner. LaLa’s salmon on salad came with toasted pecans covered in powdered sugar. That is weird. (weird but good. I ate a ton of them)

two flag football games

–Mom and LaLa went to that bakery I love in the next town and brought me back some of those chocolate thumprints that reduce my willpower to nothing. I left the cookies at Mom’s because I am powerless against their pull.

–I sprayed Mom with bug spray and made her scream. (enjoyed that a little too much)  I thought she wanted me to do that, and turned her back for exactly that purpose, when no, not so much and it was a total, cold shock.

–tried on/exchanged shoes. of course.

–Lots of “I Spy” with the kids and Mike, and watching a wedding take place across the street from the restaurant. Bride’s colors were hot pink and orange. Although LaLa drawled, “my colors are blush and bashful, Mama.” Ahh, Julia.

–When LaLa and I went to the restroom at the end of dinner, Caden-6yr burst into song, “Big sister and little sister going to the potty!”  I’m sure the other diners appreciated that more than we did.

Quite a sendoff. At least it wasn’t “big sister and little brother” and we had at least that much clarity.

In Which We See Why Metaphors Are Not My Friends. Again. (Moo.)

July 23rd, 2010 at 10:15 am » Comments (4)

In this house there are things that just are – things that I just no longer see because they’re a constant. Things I should have fixed ages ago and didn’t. I’m still not. I’m writing about them instead because yeah, that’s helpful.

*the little white plastic cow that sits next to my shampoo. Why is it there? Why is it always on its back, feet up, like a dead bug? Why does it never move, despite that area getting clean every week? I think the housekeeper must put him carefully back in that feet up position every Monday. (oh that’s awful, i should stop writing about him and go move him right this second.  Her. I think it’s a girl cow, actually.)

*the blue tape edging off the baseboards in one tiny hallway near Seth-4yr’s room. I put it there… many months ago and then ran out of the right color paint and never got more and never took the tape off. Oh my gosh, this one really bugs me now. Suddenly. A lot.

*a really neat Christmas present to me from Mike, still in very large box, on Mike’s side of bed. It requires  a bike, which I never bought, and so I never took the thing out of the box, and there it is. Still. It is July.

*boxes of bottled water, perpetually on the dining room floor. But it’s always new ones, as they do get used. It’s just that they get delivered to the front porch, I move them in, and halfway across the dining room the box handles break because of box weight/poor cardboard engineering and design flaws, and I put them down and they never make it to the kitchen. Need a new system. Maybe the plastic cow can help. She really needs a change of scenery anyway. A feet-down, heads-up perspective on life.

*the stacks and stacks of books on both my nightstand and Mike’s. I clean mine off. They’re there the next day. They invite their friends, they multiply, they just congregate there by the dozen and for years I’ve been helpless against their determination. But they’re books, and it’s a nightstand, and at least this one makes sense so it doesn’t bother me as much.

*Years ago we had a really good

(um… what? Mike came in just now and brought me food even though I told him not to – so sweet – and we talked for a minute and then I came back to that sentence and have no idea what it means. “Years ago we had a really good….” what?! Huh. That’s frustrating. I mean, whatever it was, it was ‘really good’ and I assume we no longer have it because there’s the whole past tense thing going on… gah. Writer should not be stumped/driven nuts/totally annoyed by own lame cliffhanger fragment about own life written just 3 minutes before. Thanks, short term memory.)

* hole in laundry room wall, courtesy of overzealous door flinging open action. I am just as guilty as kids. More so, actually. They get their overzealous door flinging style from me.  It makes sense that I am also the hole-patcher in this house. I need to get to this one (again) soon.

{funny. Mike is back from being out of town and is in the living room talking to the boys about something and I can only hear the words, “No ONE! NO ONE! NO! one!” And I can tell he’s very serious about whatever he’s saying, and can’t help but admire the way he said the same phrase 3 times, consecutively, with 3 unique inflections on those 2 words. Awesome. I think it was way crucial to life as we know it and also had something to do with wii remotes.}

Okay. Since the whole forgotten phrase thing I just can’t get back on board with this post. I keep re-reading it and thinking I’ll remember the rest of that oh so important point or at least remember all the other things that were to follow, and I can’t.

I’m suddenly quite distracted by the thought that maybe I AM THE GIRL COW. Perhaps I am in one spot, in a position that makes no sense, and not moving and I need to fix this. Fix things. Fix all the stuff on the list and then some and all the weird but equally untouched odd family dynamics that make about as much sense as the bottled water and the unopened Christmas present. And that sounds like a lot of work for one girl cow. I do not want to be the upside down girl cow. NO ONE! No! ONE! No ONE! wants to be an upside down girl cow next to the shampoo. Ha! Change of random metaphor. “I am the hole patcher in this house.” Sounds better. No udder required.

holy CRAP I just re-read this and it sounds nuts but I’m leaving it because it’s oddly quite real and real is good even when it’s nuts and i don’t have time to write something that makes me sound more sane -and is thus probably less ‘real’ – as I have a newfound awareness of all the things i need to be fixing today and forever-after, and also my sister gets here tonight. busy. good thing I’ve been you know, blogging, with all my spare time this morning.

*, *, and some more *

July 19th, 2010 at 4:59 pm » Comments (4)

*The cat takes a pepcid morning and night for his ulcer. He’s really good about it, but when he’s cranky I sometimes am tempted to toss a Midol down his throat instead.

*I’m a bit in trouble with the ‘hosting’ people. I do not understand technology. I really don’t. But the mystical hosting people contacted me in distress because my picture files were too large and they, uh, noticed.  I was all, “huh? really? I was kinda proud I learned how to use pictures at all and what’s ‘large’ and what’s ‘small’ and how do you really influence that anyway…?” The mystical hosting people were not charmed, and I swore to not use any more pictures until I figured out how to please them with my file size. This is why there were not darling photos of a sick Caden-6yr in lion feet slippers in the last post.

*There is one thing worse than watching your baby fall off playground equipment and not being able to get there fast enough to catch him. And that would be….? Watching someone else’s baby do that while you’re the adult on duty and not getting there fast enough. Oh, the guilt. I picked playground mulch-y stuff out of her gorgeous curly hair and scooped it out of her nose and even out of her mouth and sat on the ground and held her until she stopped crying and it was AWFUL.  That girl was tough.

*Caden-6yr is better. He is actually mightily recovered, and came out of this illness with a different personality than the one we’ve always known and loved in his previous 6 yrs of life. This personality is similar to the Incredible Hulk. He’s strong, he’s violent, and he’s unpredictable. Caden-6yr, last week and prior, was mild mannered, sunny, easy going, and totally chill.  Now he’s leaving bruises on unsuspecting brothers who are like, “WHAT? WHO ARE YOU?”  And we still do not know the answer to that. Paging the Old Version of Caden-6yr…? You are wanted in the Home Department immediately.

*It’s Big Spider Season. Last year during Big Spider Season, my mother still lived here and she squished them for me. And now she does not. The boys are usually good about this chore, but last week there was one that was SO BIG that I was scared to LET the boys take care of it. I called Mike (from where I perched atop the kitchen island) and was all, “COME HOME THERE IS  A RAT SIZED SPIDER, PLEEEEEASE COME BACK.” Mike had just left. He came back. The burly, barrel chested rat-sized spider lumbered over to the dishwasher and disappeared. Mike took apart the dishwasher because I was not going to get much done on the kitchen island, otherwise.  The rat sized spider has not been seen since, but I have not forgotten him.

*He’s probably rabbit sized by now.

*Ethan-10yr is going to camp. For a week. For the first time. I am not good with this. Sure, I went to camp and I was even younger, and it was great. But this is my baby.  This particular baby goes to bed at seven o’clock because he wants to and  because he needs to and because if he stays up any later  – his eyes glaze over and he can only utter the words, “why am I still up, Mom? It’s too late for me.” And? He’s right. I have no idea how he will function. I’m trying not to think about it.

*LaLa is coming to visit. We shall snort like pigs when we laugh and exchange shoes. Can’t wait!

Rough Morning with Caden-6yr

July 16th, 2010 at 7:41 pm » Comments (4)

When the guy taking my groceries out to my car asked how my day was, I lied. I said it was a “great day.” I most certainly did not tell him that I’ve thrown up repeatedly, including once directly into my purse – and that I am not even sick. Despite the lack of honesty, I think this was the right move, conversationally.

It started yesterday. Caden-6yr had sinus infection like symptoms and they got worse through the night until he (and neither Mike nor I) could sleep at all. His head hurt a LOT – and Caden-6yr is a trooper who isn’t known for complaining. (Unless he thinks it’s funny or dramatic, and yes I DO know where he gets that tendency.) Then he started throwing up.  All night. All morning. All day.

Mike is better with this sort of symptom, BY FAR. He knows this, I know this, and if you’ve read here for long, then YOU also know this. And yet, somehow, in our seriously sleep deprived status, we somehow decided that I would take Caden-6yr to the doctor and Mike would take the other non-vomiting children out on other errands.

This was a large-ish mistake.

Caden-6yr chose to wear a shirt, shorts, a deep purple terrycloth robe with a planetary theme, and lion feet slippers on his feet. He accessorized with a white trash can that was less for fashion and more for function. Unfortunately.

We set off down backroads toward the little town just outside of town that has our favorite clinic. It’s out of town, but with far less of a wait usually.  Caden-6yr needs his trashcan five minutes after we leave. I cannot handle the sight, sound, or smell, or thought of this. I’m driving 60 miles an hour and there are cotton fields on either side and I can’t slam on the brakes and pull over or who knows what will happen to the contents of that trashcan. But I really need to slam on the brakes. So I throw up in my purse instead.

I liked that purse.

Caden-6yr is handling everything better than I am and I toss him wipes and we keep going. And it happens again. This time, I refuse to look in the rearview mirror and start in on this really freaky prayer. I don’t know if it made sense. I don’t think it mattered. God and I both knew that prayer was about me distracting myself from the backseat and little else. It worked. Ah, the power of prayer. I wish I’d tried it the first time. My purse wishes I’d tried it the first time.

We get to the clinic and Caden-6yr walks in, wearing a purple robe and lion feet slippers, a trashcan, and an expression that is heartbreaking. He’s beyond exhausted.  There’s one other person in the waiting room, and he moves far away as soon as we enter. Good move.  Caden-6yr instantly falls asleep in my lap.

Mike texts me a photo of Seth-4yr grinning over a pancake breakfast with chocolate chips and whipped cream. It’s darling. I text Mike a photo of Caden-6yr and his trashcan.

We get back to the exam room and Caden-6yr uses his trashcan. I open the door to air everything out and hop up and down to distract myself while saying what might be sympathetic, mothering statements except the would-be sympathetic mother is jumping up and down in place and looking the opposite direction and gasping for fresh air in the hall,  which somehow seems neither sympathetic nor motherly. It just seems weird. Also? I was not wearing the right shoes for that.

I wash out the trashcan in the bathroom and get sick. Just can’t help it.

I come back and Caden-6yr asks why one of my legs is green and one of them is brown. I look down. I do not see the difference. I do not think either of my legs is green or brown. I do not say this.  My mother and I both are known to hallucinate when we have fevers and this child has a fever. Then he asks me what’s wrong with my eyebrows. “One of them is straight and one of them is bent,” he says.  ”And they look weird.”

“Baby, it may just be that I’m made that way. With weird looking eyebrows.”

He blinks a few times and his face, says, “Ooooh, sorry. I  hope not.”

He’s lying on the examination table, with no energy at all, and is coming up with detailed critiques of what is wrong with my appearance and I totally get the giggles and flop over and lose it because hello? I’ve vomited into a handbag while driving 60 mph, I’ve screamed incoherent prayers, and I’ve jumped up and down in an all out fit of denial this morning and yet none of those are on the list of things he’s critiquing about me. I must be doing some serious things wrong.  But he gives a weak smile when he sees how much he’s made me laugh, and that’s worth something.  The laughing hurts my stomach muscles which are already hurting for obvious other reasons.

I send a text to Mike asking how we decided I would be here with puke and he would be there with whipped cream pancakes.

“I don’t remember,” is the texted reply. And after the night we all had, and his usual chivalrous attitude towards being the responsible parent nearest the puke, I believe him. I don’t remember, either.

Caden-6yr is pronounced sinus infected and dehydrated and adorable and we are dismissed. We make it to the curb and then sit on the sidewalk in front of the car, clutching the trashcan between us, with intent to use.

We’re sitting in front of a sausage business – one where all the hunters take their dead animals for ‘processing.’ I’m thinking Caden-6yr and I are WAY bad for business, even with the lion foot slippers. It’s hard to work up any remorse over this, though.

Around the corner from where we sit is a bakery that sells the best ever chocolate thumbprint cookies. I’ve been known to drive to this town just for those. I think that I should probably buy them and then sniff them on the way home in order to distract from other smells. But I can’t see leaving Caden-6yr in the car long enough to buy them. And I can’t take him in. So we leave and I stick with prayer when necessary.

I leave Caden-6yr with my mom while I go get prescriptions and lie to the guy taking out the groceries.

“How’s your day been, ma’am?”

“Great day. Yep. It’s been a great day. How about you?”


Mike is home and doing a way better job at being the Responsible Parent Nearest the Vomiter than i did. I’m grateful.  Caden-6yr is not yet any better. I’m still grateful.  I’m even glad I went with him this morning, even though he would have been better off with Mike.

Odds/Ends. Mainly ‘Odds.’ Because It’s Me.

July 14th, 2010 at 3:08 pm » Comments (2)

1. Have decided that OF COURSE the kids like Mike better and have no idea why I thought maybe they didn’t. He buys them chocolate cheerios (gag) and lets them explode things on July 4th. I buy them too many pairs of underwear and prefer to keep them away from anything explosive, exciting, or interesting in case they get hurt.

2. YES, Mike DID have a party when I went away on the 4th. He said he didn’t. But there were disposable plastic cups and puffy orange cheesy things in the pantry and when he wasn’t laughing at my drug induced tears, he did admit to ‘having people over.’

3. Have made no headway on the to school/to work/to write dilemma of the upcoming autumn. Am afraid that if I choose ‘write’ that I will in fact not, and will instead end up buying my children more unnecessary underwear at Target. Every day.  Am afraid that if I choose school that I will realize I am not quite cut out for it. It’s been awhile. Wasn’t all that great at it the first few attempts, either. Am afraid that if I choose work, it will not matter at all because geez, who’d be crazy enough to hire me anyway? I break things. I don’t think that generally goes over well. I think the work option does have the best cute shoe wearing potential, though, and no I am not even kidding – that matters.

Am perfectly aware of how crazy all that sounds. Am fine with that.

4. The extra kids’ underwear references probably do not make sense. I think it was part of a post I never actually posted. But my kids have a million pairs of underwear and yet they still end up with shortages due to one or more of them hoarding the supply for odd/sentimental/mean/accidental/all of the above reasons. I forget they do this and buy more. And then wonder how in the world I could forget this cycle and yet i do.

Suddenly remembering why I never posted about that.

5. Kinda fell in love with a basenji named Coconut. He has golden eyebrows and a soulful, doggy gaze. But I’m refraining from adopting him because he’s fairly destructive, as they apparently often are. But OH SO CUTE.  Also, I killed a turtle yesterday. And I do not know what I’m doing with my life when the kids go back to school next month.  I should not take on further animal responsibilities.

6.  In the last few days, I broke a turtle, an iPhone, 2 eggs (on the floor), one white computer cord, and seriously bruised my right foot when I dropped something heavy on it in a Hobby Lobby.

7. I might be more destructive than a basenji named Coconut.

Correction: I am WAY more destructive than a basenji named Coconut.

Fortunately my mother is way more understanding when I gouge giant lines into her fence with a weedeater than she is when Coconut eats large chunks of her gate and then spits out the splinters everywhere. I might be destructive to fences, but at least I do not eat them.

8. If you have to rate your destructiveness with a sentence that clarifies that you do not EAT wooden fencing, then you might have a problem.

2 Turtles, 1 Donkey.

July 13th, 2010 at 11:48 am » Comments (3)

At the gym, there is an indoor pond with koi and a turtle. The turtle likes to pull himself up from the water and greet the kids and other gym-goers. Or just bask in all the admiration everyone heaps upon him. He’s safe beneath a “Do Not Touch the Turtle” sign, and no one does.  His favorite perch is pretty much at Seth-4yr’s eye level, and they gaze lovingly at one another before or after swim lessons.

Today, we were on our way to the gym and a white SUV had pulled over on the right shoulder. White smoke puffed from behind it and I assumed they were having car trouble. As I got closer, the driver swung his door open wide, so I moved over to the left in my lane to give him more room. When I did this, I hit something in the road.

A turtle.

A turtle that was about ten seconds from being rescued by a man in a white SUV and then I SMASHED it. I made some strangled cat noise and the boys all asked what was wrong. I said, “nothing.”

In my rearview mirror the would-be turtle hero stood in the road and with both arms stretched high over his head, showing off his two middle fingers.  I can hardly blame him.

I slid down in the seat and didn’t let the kids see me cry. If they had seen the turtle – or if I’d told them about that turtle – we would have had to spend the next two hours having a counseling/grief/roadside funeral session, complete with an irate protestor and I just wasn’t up to it today.

I wasn’t upset about the guy – I know it’s weird and wrong but whenever I see someone with the ability to strike that particular hand position it always surprises and even impresses me a little. I don’t think my hands are that coordinated. When I was in 6th grade I had a very bitter friend (even for a 6th grader) who was always doing this particular hand gesture. Looking back now, and remembering what her life was like, I’m not surprised. Even then, my hands just would not do that. She took it as further proof I was innately uncool. Not that either of us really needed such additional proof. It was already fairly established.

I was VERY upset about the death of the turtle, though. It was moments from being rescued. The pardon had already been called in. The  hero was in position.


I whisked the kids off faster than usual and said “no” when they asked if they could go talk to the turtle. I did not want to be standing next to the koi pond crying and apologizing to the turtle for a crime against his cousin and that really woulda been a possibility. So I said no.

During swim lessons I sent my mother a text saying I murdered a turtle. She called back and said, “THE ONE AT THE GYM?!”  She knew I was headed to the gym. It was a fair question.

At least it wasn’t that turtle.  That turtle has a “Do Not Touch the Turtle” sign and is perfectly safe and living the good life. That turtle was saved.

My murdered, dead, squashed, heartbreaking turtle is the reason I drove waaaay out of the way on the way home just to take a different road and the kids were concerned I’d gotten lost.

“Mom, are you sure this is the way home….?”

“It is today, baby.”  I told them to look for the donkey that we sometimes see when we drive that way and then I looked in its pasture and couldn’t see it either and had this irrational fear that maybe it had gotten out and would be in the road and I wouldn’t see it and then I’d kill it, too.


So then I silently said to myself, Dude. You are not going to accidentally kill a donkey in broad daylight. You are not going to accidentally kill all the animals in the world. You are not some sort of anti-Noah. You are a vegetarian, hello? It’s fine. Just drive the kids home, have a diet coke and CHILL OUT.

And I had a diet coke, but I don’t know if you can tell this or not, but I am so not chilled out yet.

Texas Road Trip, Part Two

July 9th, 2010 at 10:57 pm » Comments (3)

TxRdTrip, Part 1

I’m WAY glad we went to see Willie in Austin.



Much was learned, y’all.

After internet research and looking at weather forecasts, we arrived at the venue with a certain set of conclusions, many of which were incorrect.

We thought there would be seats – as seen in an online photo. There were no such seats, and we were real glad we had little towels and flimsy, scarfy things with us to spread out and sit on.

We also thought it would likely rain and also be way hot. We brought ponchos we never used and these little spray mister fans that I’d gotten the week before just for this occasion. (This is my so-cute mom, demonstrating the use of such a device.)

You fill them up with water or ice water, turn on the battery operated fan, and it sprays you with a fine, cooling mist. If you have ice water to spare, which we did not.

I didn’t want to venture back into the extremely scary bathroom facilities at one point and Mom wanted LaLa to fill up the fans with water and she LOUDLY (because LaLa is loud) exclaimed, “I AM NOT GOING INTO THE BATHROOM WITH THREE MISTERS!” Mom and I thought this to be a hilarious declaration, particularly when it caused a lady nearby to jerk her head around and gape in LaLa’s direction.

We arrived at 10:30 am. There were various singers and bands and some were worthwhile and some kinda not. The venue had a “once you’re in, you are in and not leaving and coming back” policy, so when we realized Willie wouldn’t likely come onstage until midnight, it was a sad, sad realization.

We laid out our little scarf-y things and one beach towel over an uneven, highly uncomfortable square of grassy ground. We weighted the corners and edges with water bottles and flip flops and I instantly became very aware of our collective tattoo-less status. Not that it bothers me — I don’t even like bumper stickers.

We slathered on a sunscreen that had this unfortunate quality of forming a thick, gray layer of grime on the skin. It was ugly. But effective. The sun could not get through. I couldn’t scrape it off even though I tried. Out of sheer boredom.

We inhabited our uncomfortable but up-close and centerstage plot of land for fourteen hours. I’ve had babies faster than that. Mom pointed out that you can fly from Honolulu to Sydney way faster than that.  It was a bizarre 14 hours.

The venue where this was held is new. And… needs some guidance on some basic issues but I wish them well and am sure it’ll all work out soon and I don’t want to list all the things that went wrong for them.

At one point Mom and I split up to go forage for food. Whoever got to the actual food first was to buy enough for all. We stood in two different food lines for more than an hour and a half and LaLa held down our little plot of ground despite the protests of dozens of jumpy spiders. Um… gross.  I stood amidst other hungry fans and a small group of us bonded over our common circumstances in the endless and unmoving taco line. They were nice. One guy told me a detailed history behind every Willie song. Yes. I think it really was EVERY song. One girl told us the secret of how to avoid the crazy long lines at the bar (they were selling through the back door, no line, just be sure to tip.)  The Taco Line Group was like family by the time we finally reached the counter and went our separate ways.

Then I sent a text to LaLa begging her to come help me. There weren’t any aisles or pathways and there were 7500 people there and I was ready to fall apart at the idea of pushing through and stepping around them on my way back to our scarf-y place. She came and got me and pushed through the crowds so I could follow her. She’s like that.

(This looks way serious, but actually LaLa is describing a very bizarre behavior she observed and then we were forming theories on why the lady did it. We were bored. The observed behavior involved boobs. Check out the guy behind me in the green shirt! We should have asked his theory.)

By this point my back hurt SO bad. Where I come from, ground is flat. There’s none of this craggy unevenness. That just doesn’t happen. Sitting, lying, standing on uneven ground for that long messes with me in ways I should have predicted but didn’t. It ached. It hurt. I stretched and did not complain. We were in this endurance thing together, and we had a silent, understood pact not to complain.

And as you might predict for 7500 Willie Nelson fans at an outdoor venue – there was quite a cloud hovering over us. Mom thought it smelled like sausage. But it was pot. And a LOT of it. There weren’t any attempts to be discreet – it was just everywhere. And that’s part of going to a Willie concert – we knew that, no big deal.  I wouldn’t say it bothered us in any way – it was just notable.

Willie finally appeared. We were miserable by then, and my back was having these awful spasm things. Willie, short hair and all, was worth staying for. He really was. That voice. I love that voice. And the ugly guitar.

We finally left. He’d been onstage for more than an hour, and I’d heard all my favorites and ow with the back and all.  We got back to the hotel and LaLa saw an animal family in the parking lot. I saw it too, and did not understand why she was so excited about weird, long haired orange cats. I thought they were ugly.

We went to our room and she showed me yoga poses and stretches. It was 2 a.m. and I’m betting not many other of the 7500 Willie fans were doing THAT in hotel rooms. But oooh it helped. We took turns in the bathroom and I was delighted to scrub off the gray sunscreen grime.

The next morning my back didn’t really hurt that much. Some. But not much. Everything else hurt, though. My head. And I had a real hard time not bursting into tears every few seconds. It was awful.  Mom came into the room and I was crying and she glared at LaLa as if it were her fault and that was sad and funny because all LaLa had done was tell me my shoes were cute. And? Hello? They were. And I cried.

We were all kinda taken aback by whatever was wrong with me. I don’t do that. And what set it off was my realizing it was time to get all our stuff to the car and that task was SO overwhelming and … yeah. Serious tears. We discussed how fragile I felt and how uncomfortable that makes me as I really like to not ever feel that and we had some great analysis going on. What a bunch of girls.

I went into the bathroom and tried to get it together. I failed. But I did come out and say, “OH! Maybe it was all that POT!” And suddenly it all made sense so I started crying again. Not because this was in any way acceptable to me, but just because I could not STOP. It was awful. Have I said that? Oh man.

We said goodbye. LaLa mentioned the raccoon family she’d seen the night before. Oh.

Pot + raccoon family + me = weird, long haired orange cats.

That is my brain on drugs.

Mom drove. She was VERY careful and talked in hushed tones and was very compassionate about my numerous limitations. I sat very still and silently reminded myself do not cry. We drove through Lampasas and wondered why they had banners advertising the Spring Ho. (no, not making that up, and wouldn’t it look awful embroidered on a satin beauty queen sash? yikes.) Mom told me to look it up on my phone. I think she was trying to give me small tasks to keep me busy, but I was a bit afraid to ask google what a Lampasas Spring Ho was. We wondered why it was a “Spring” Ho when it was already July and clearly we were in Summer. So shouldn’t it be a Summer Ho? But I did look it up. And I already forgot – but it wasn’t as bad as it sounded.

We ate at a Chili’s somewhere. On the way to the restroom I silently repeated, do not cry, do not fall, steady… steady….why is it so bright in here…. is it really too tacky to wear sunglasses inside?… do NOT cry, Kels…. It was a sad reflection in the mirror. I leaned forward and whispered, “Oh, dear GOD.” Not in a blasphemous way  - but in a three word prayer invoking the name of the One who might be able to help that unrecognizable,  pathetic creature wearing my clothes kinda way. Apparently my hairbrush and I had not renewed our acquaintance that morning. At all. I put it in a ponytail and made myself dizzy in the process. On the way back to the table, the same silent self talk was necessary so that I would not get lost, fall, or cry. Every movement I made was in slow motion out of pure necessity.

Mom asked about my back. “Mmm. It’s a hangover, Mom.” That walk to the bathroom had solved that question quite effectively.

She smiled sweetly and said, “Oh! I don’t usually associate that word with you.” In the same tone of voice one might say, “that’s lovely!” when handed a gift. Or that’s how it seemed. She seemed VERY chipper. But it mighta just been by comparison.

I said thank you.

Then she brightly said, “At least you’re not in trouble!”

And then a few minutes later, she smiled sweetly at me again and leaned across the table and said slowly and meaningfully, “You may not be able to feel this right now… so I’m just going to tell you since you don’t seem to know…. your nose is running.”

And it was.

Snot. On. Face.

I tried not to laugh. That was easy. I tried not to cry. That was not easy.

It was awful.

I sent Mike a text saying I needed to go right to bed when I got home. I did not tell him my newfound revelation about how 14 hours of breathing huge amounts of second-hand marijuana smoke and I do not mix well.

I cried for two days and bumped into walls more than usual. I didn’t want to eat anything and was grumpy for a full four days, and if you ask my mother, she might say it was longer than that.

And now… I’ve been drug free for almost 6 days and am feeling much better, thank you. This accidental jaunt into narcotics is completely over and does not need to be repeated, even for Willie.

The last Willie concert I almost got really physical and mad and ended up in the car missing the whole thing because my kids were tired and smelled like beer. I thought I’d leave the kids at home this time and SEE Willie this time and then everything would be better. And I ended up kinda high and crazy and surprisingly hungover for an otherwise clean-living stay at home mom. I did not see all that coming.

And maybe I should have.

But I’m glad there’s an explanation for why those cats were so ugly. I was sad for Austin and their ugly, oddly nocturnal orange cats.

Sometime while I was crying and falling apart in the bathroom, my sister put a sweet note in my purse that I only found yesterday, and an Aleve wrapped up in a homemade pill envelope. Like a really thoughtful drug dealer might do. Or a sweet big sister who teaches yoga at 2 am if needed.

Proof she’s to blame for some of my laugh lines.

Our next trip will be drug free. That’s the only detail we’ve really hammered out so far, but I know it’ll be great.

Texas Road Trip, Part One

July 6th, 2010 at 11:17 pm » Comments (2)

Mmmmkay. Back from brief trip to Austin. Saw Willie.

I’ll start from the beginning, even though the ending is far more interesting and incriminating. But when do I ever do anything as interesting (to me) as a 3 day trip? Like, never!  Let’s drag it out and make it last a post or two.

The night before we left, I butchered the grapevines. I was thrilled with the outcome. They are orderly and trained in horizontal rows along wires I afixed to the fence. It took me hours. Normally I do not talk to myself. I talk to myself a LOT while working with grapes.  Mike was… not exactly pleased with my efforts but tried to hide it and didn’t hide it at all but at least he was polite.

Then he asked if I was packed and he tried not to react when of course I was not. Then he asked if I was excited. I tried forever to come up with a way of answering him without my answer sounding like I knew it was probably gonna sound. (don’t you HATE that? You know if you answer it’s going to just sound awful and you stand there and try to come up with something diplomatic and just… can’t?) And then I gave up, said it anyway, and he laughed at me when I finally told him I was very nervous that the children would forget me and I’d come back and they’d like him better.*

After he laughed at me, Mike helped me pack. Because I hate it. And because he’s nice. He worried I was never returning, based on the huge stack of things I threw into the “Pack” pile.  I knew I wouldn’t WEAR six different swimwear combinations. I just didn’t know which ones I would want  to wear ahead of time. What is so confusing about that?

If you ever need to go on a road trip with anyone – I recommend taking my mom. She’s just funny.  That makes the hours so much more enjoyable. Really. The rain poured down on us while we drove. Cars and trucks slipped off roads all around us. We got pretty frustrated with the GPS lady in Mom’s car. She sounds like a chain smoker, and she kept suggesting really mean, needless detours and wrong turns and we just really didn’t get along well.

Despite that lady’s bad directions, we  finally got to where we were going and stayed the night in Marble Falls, Texas. If you are EVER there, please go to the Blue Bonnet Cafe and have some pie. (I totally object to the space between “Blue” and “Bonnet”, because any Texan will tell you it’s just wrong, and it even stopped me from getting a cute pie t-shirt, but still. The pie is highly recommended. I don’t even really like pie. Unless it’s chocolate.) My mom had lemon meringue and the meringue was HUGELY tall. I had breakfast, then some of her pie.

Bluebonnets are the state flower of Texas. Blue Bonnets are floppy old fashioned lady hats in the color blue. And the cafe is about the flower, not about an outdated hat, and grrr. It bothers me. That space between the e and the b –or lack therof — is VITALLY important and changes EVERYTHING.

Regardless, YUM. Go, and thank me later, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about that infuriating, unnecessary space.

Saturday morning, Mom and I ‘antiqued.’ I’m not a natural at this at all, and do not want to be, but we had a nice time. Then we went to a Pier 1. As soon as Mom and I went our separate ways, someone in the store broke something. I thought, GREAT. Mom is going to think it was me. And she did. Because…? Well, I’m me. And since she’s my MOTHER, she knows me, and that was a totally reasonable conclusion, but this time it actually wasn’t me and I was not the breaker of the Pier 1 ish things. Ha!  I asked Mom later if she thought it was me and she laughed and said, “yes! I turned to the woman next to me and wondered aloud if that had been my child who had done that. Then I told her how old ‘my child’ is.”

Then we met up with LaLa, my sister, at the hotel in Austin. We sat on beds and ate some amazing little square pecan-y things she baked. Mmmm. For some reason we were trying to mimic a laugh we had all heard and I thought it sounded very giraffe-like. LaLa could do the super loud, giraffe laugh VERY well, although in order to do it, her left eyelid had to flutter open and shut in a really creepy way. My efforts were more horse-like. And then we started snorting like pigs because OUR laugh can be very pig-like and not giraffe or horse-like at all – and that’s somehow WAY better of course – and my stomach totally ached and hurt and made me feel so sick from all those pig-snorty laugh muscles that only get used when she’s around and they were out of practice but it was worth it. I had to be still and not laugh at anything Mom or LaLa said until the sick feeling went away and that is WAY HARD to do with those two.

The three of us went to a Nordstrom Rack. Not because we meant to, but because it was right there next to Whole Foods where we were headed and ooohygoodness were we supposed to not go in and buy shoes? ‘Course not. So we did. (Realized today though, that I came home with LaLa’s shoes and she went home with mine. Quite by mistake, and we don’t wear the same size so it’s not even fun.)

Sunday. Mmm. Sunday was the Willie Nelson concert. I kinda hurt just thinking about it. No. I REALLY hurt just thinking about it. I’ll write about it tomorrow or the next day. I’m SO glad we went. Really. But we were there for 14 hours. And I’m not quite over those 14 hours yet.  I’m still a bit in awe that the three of us survived that particular day as well as we did. Mom and LaLa survived a bit more gracefully than I did, if you really want to know. But whatever.  We did it. And we are also so glad that we will never do it again.

Even though we love Willie, this was our final meeting. Kinda sad.

*My kids did not forget me. If they decided to like Mike better  - or if they did already and never told me because they’re smart – I can’t tell.  Also, I think maybe I should go away more often.